No one tells any story but their own. In writing my Irish book, I feel that is actually painful knowing that I bear an untold story inside me. Little by little we find our way, perhaps not unlike this Irish lad, slowly maneuvering through the hustle bustle of the crowded street on his prized pony at the Ennistymon Horse Fair in County Clare in hopes that someone may take a chance and like it enough to call it their own and let the story go on . . .
There’s nothing particularly special about my story. Although while recalling it, I still sometimes cry. Long ago I lost someone I loved. I was not expecting it, I didn't lose her all at once; I lost her in pieces over a long time.
We want to avoid the brutality of death at all costs but when it inevitably comes, it brings grief that takes its own sweet time to soften. But soften it does, somewhere in the manmade construct of Time and if Time does anything, it deepens our grief.
The longer I live, the more fully I become aware of who she was for me, and the more intimately I experience what her love meant, I realize its power and depth.
Love has made itself visible through grieving.
If one is lucky, one is reborn.
'There are many a rumor of the Jackdaw being a bad, or even an evil, omen that can indicate bad luck and bad fortune in your life. Generally, through befriending the Jackdaw totem the bad luck and bad fortune can be faced and worked through. The Jackdaw is in truth an omen to indicate what needs to be brought to attention in your life. With Jackdaw there are often powerful portends and premonitions ... as a familiar and totem guide, the Jackdaw makes an excellent companion.'
'The species may be the only animal aside from humans known to understand the role of eyes in seeing and perceiving things, according to a new study by Oxford University. While humans often use visual clues to communicate, it wasn’t known whether other animals share this social ability until recently.'
I have always been amazed at the sounds of these Jack Daws having twilight meetings in the trees along The Falls of the Inagh River. The air is filled with hundreds of conversations and musings from above. Sometimes if I listen real close, I begin to realize they are actually laughing.
"When you walk up to opportunities door... don't knock it.
Kick that bitch in, smile and introduce yourself.”
Footfalls . . .
“Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden . . .”
Did I hear a low echo of footfalls in this abandoned cottage nestled in hills of Kilfenora? In the shadow, I stood for a moment and imagined the souls that once lived here and where they are now.
‘Oh, roamer from lands where the vanished years go…’
Come out of your silence and tell me if Life is so fair in that world as they say? Do these sorrows die out with our breath?
I need to know.
One morning while I was walking down the street of Ennistymon, County Clare, I met this young Irish lass “hanging“ outside of Cooley’s Pub. With a nod of her red fly-away hair in its crowning glory, she reminded me of all that was wild and wonderful in Ireland.
Ireland has the highest number of red-haired people per capita in the world with the percentage of those with red hair at around 10%.
Your body is away from me
but there is a window open
from my heart to yours.
From this window, like the moon
I keep sending news secretly.
"When all the others were away at Mass
I was all hers as we peeled potatoes.
They broke the silence, let fall one by one
Like solder weeping off the soldering iron:
Cold comforts set between us, things to share
Gleaming in a bucket of clean water.
And again let fall. Little pleasant splashes
From each other's work would bring us to our senses."
~Seamus Heaney, excerpt from Clearances
With the linoleum floor as the backdrop to my shoes and the percussion of small talk, utensils, pots and pans as the soundscape, I remember helping my mom in the kitchen with the family meals.
Yesterday was the my first Thanksgiving since my mother passed. At my mother’s memorial, I heard many versions of that old platitude, “Time heals all wounds.” Experience has taught me that time doesn’t offer a linear healing process so much as a slowly shifting perspective.
She died from suffering. In many ways, my mom and I share similar temperaments. After her death, I worried I was also destined for an unhappy outcome. This is one of the many tricks that grief plays: it makes you think you don’t deserve happiness. Grief makes us better equipped to weather the other life losses that are sure to come and I've weathered a few.
Death is the only universal, and grieving makes beginners out of all of us.
Where to begin . . .
“'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore, And coming events cast their shadows before."
I have spent a great deal of my childhood in cemeteries. There seemed to be a lot of death among the distant elders that I never really got to know. Memories of the drone of religious services, long car rides to the graveyard, uncomfortable shoes and excruciating boredom. There never seemed to be a shortage of dying going on.
Solace came in short gifts of time alone to explore the solitude of the cemetery, with written word and monument to the strange unknown. I am still drawn to them. I suppose we all are.